Friday, July 6, 2007

Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs

I am currently reading Magical Thinking, a collection of essays by Augusten Burroughs. The essays are about various events in his life, but what is most noteworthy is the sense of humor with which he approaches everything. Burroughs is sarcastic and laugh-out-loud funny -- and believe me, it's not often that a book gets me to laugh out loud.

The biggest surprise for me was the discovery, several essays into the book, that Burroughs is gay. He lets the reader know gently, by first talking about how one of his childhood heroes was a transsexual. I totally didn't pick up on the cues at all, so when he started talking about how he had considered getting a sex-change operation, I was shocked.

All in all, the experience was kind of humbling. I write regularly for a GLBT parenting site, so sometimes I start thinking like I've got "them" all figured out. Clearly, that assumption -- including the reference to GLBT people as "them," an other -- stems from some sort of prejudice that I have been socialized with and unknowingly retained. I don't think of myself as prejudiced at all, but this just goes to show that getting rid of socialized prejudice is easier said than done.

But back to the book. My surprise at finding out the author is gay hasn't changed my enjoyment of the book any. In fact, I have to point out that another one of the funniest books I've ever read -- The Kid, by Dan Savage -- was also by a gay writer. I love a sarcastic sense of humor, and both of these guys have got it in spades.

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